So far it looks like that the final release of vm2 is now 1-2 weeks away.
We understand that many people are not happy, that we have not set a final release date, but we don't want to create banana software, many people have been working hard in the past few weeks and months, building a robust shopping cart they are proud of, and with this in mind, we feel we are at the final stages. We want release VirtueMart 2 when the last sub release has no new severe bugs. The last sub release should be stable as the final, then we release it, however, please remember that VirtueMart 2 will be the fundament core for the next few years, so we wanted to consider as much as possible for it's future use.
The general problem to set an ETA is that VM2 is developed by a community and not a company.
This means that the work is not only delayed because people working on VirtueMart who need to pay their bills and do other jobs, it means also that the whole process of testing & qualifying is done completely differently, normally a tester is a skilled programmer and not an end user. We have a strong working community, so we rely on testing from our community, this has delayed development, because it takes more time to train the people and to understand if there is a bug or a misunderstanding of the feature. On the other hand this leads to a more intuitive and self explained product, the other problem is that a lot people in different countries and with different ideas, work together purely over the net. We do not sit together in one office, so we need a lot more communication using forum's and chat rooms. Altogether more than 20 developers have committed their code, and more than 20 extra testers are in touch with the core team, during this time we also had programmers, who had to leave the project for personal reasons, and in some cases the programmers claimed to finished a task, left the project and when it got tested by the community later, we found a lot bugs and had sometimes rewrite the whole work of them. This problems affect the final product in a positive manner, so this makes it harder for estimating the release date.
What happened since the first RC in may?
First we changed the whole database layout using a common pattern also used by nooku. Then we implemented abstract controllers, models and tables, to follow the DRY principle (meaning = Don't repeat yourself). After that we thought we are done and released the RC2, but then Joomla 1.7 came out. To get an idea what we had to do (http://forum.virtuemart.net/index.php?topic=90207.msg295973#msg295973). Then we found out that a lot stuff was buggy or only partly implemented. Take a look on the developer forum to get an impression (http://forum.virtuemart.net/index.php?board=127.0)
So what we think is the estimated date for the final? Let's take a look on our feature list http://forum.virtuemart.net/index.php?topic=91199.0 as far we can see, almost any feature is implemented. The missing features are not obligatory for many people, so let's take a look to the forum board with the bugs, since version j, it seems almost any bug is fixed. The bugs left are minor or specifically connected to the environment of the user. So when you are happy, with the already built in feature, you can treat the j version as a final.
There are already a lot people happily configuring VM2 for their shops and some of them will go online, before VM2 is announced as final because it works, it works very well and the initial feedback we are getting makes the road to this version and the developers happy and proud.
VirtueMart is a community project, so the ideal is when the community itself signals that VM2 is final and I think the day is very near.